Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:05 AM
GROWING ROOTS FOR THE GEOSCIENCES IN MIAMI, FLORIDA, A PROGRAM AIMED AT HIGH SCHOOL AND MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS TO INCREASE AWARENESS OF CAREER AND EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES IN THE GEOSCIENCES
Growing Roots for the Geosciences is a 2-year pilot recruitment project run by the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University (FIU) and funded by the NSF OEDG (Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences) program. FIU, the State University of Florida in Miami is a federally recognized Minority Serving Institution with over 70% of the undergraduate population coming from groups underrepresented in the geoscience workforce. The goal of this project is to inform students enrolled in the local middle and high schools to career opportunities in the geosciences and to promote pathways for underrepresented groups to university geoscience degree programs. The first year’s program included a 1-week workshop for middle school teachers and a 2-week summer camp aimed at high school students in the public school system. The teacher workshop was attended by 20 teachers who taught comprehensive and physical science in grades 6-8. It included lectures on geoscience careers, fundamental concepts of solid earth and atmospheric science, hands on exercises with earth materials, fossils and microscopy, interpretation of landform with Google Earth imagery, and a field trip to a local working limestone quarry. On the first day of the workshop, participants were surveyed on their general educational background in science and their familiarity and comfort with teaching basic geoscience concepts. On the final day, the teachers participated in a group discussion where we discussed how to make geoscience topics and careers more visible in the school curriculum.
The 2-week summer camp was attended by 21 students entering grades 9-12. The program included hands on exercises on geoscience and GIS concepts, field trips to local barrier islands, the Everglades, a limestone quarry and a waste to energy facility, and tours of the NOAA National Hurricane Center and the FIU SEM lab. Participants were surveyed on their general educational background in math and science as well as their general interest in geoscience careers. In separate focus groups, participants were queried on better ways of interesting high school students in geoscience majors. Suggestions included visits by faculty and college students to high schools and using social media promote events and activities.